Design for manufacturing, often referred to as DFM, is a process used when designing a product to make the design as easy and as efficient to mass produce as possible.

Engineers will need to keep design for manufacturing processes and principles in mind when designing your product. Just about anything can be designed digitally but if you want to physically mass produce your design it won’t do much if factories can’t manufacture your design using modern production capabilities. Or there is the possibility that the design has unnecessary features that can drive the costs up when they can be adjusted or removed.

Designing for manufacturability is key to making any product successful.

Below are some of the features of a design our engineers will optimize so that your design is the best it can be.

About Manufacturing Methods

There are many production methods that can be used to make a product. Some will fit your product better than others. For example a part produced by CNC machining can often have a higher unit cost then a part made from an injection mold. On the other hand, some features that can be CNC machined can’t be injection molded. CNC machining generally has an advantage in accuracy and can make parts that require tighter tolerances or a higher degree of precision. 

Consequently, the design should be made with the production method used to make it in mind.

If you need a product with the best finish possible and using strong materials, then your design will probably be made using CNC machining. If cost effectiveness is the most important part of your project, then casting or injection molding should be what your design is aimed for.

Of course, there are times where you can use more than one production method on a part or parts. Such as casting a part and then machining it. Our engineering team can help you on what best will suit your project.

Choosing Materials

The material will make a huge difference in the manufacturability of your part. Some production methods can only produce certain materials. For instance injection molds are limited to plastics and rubbers. Metals can’t be injection molded.

You can make a part more expensive to make then it needs to be by choosing a higher grade material than necessary. Sometimes aluminum will work just as well as steel for a part and it will cost less. Choosing a lower grade of a stronger material like titanium can also help lower the cost but keep the part strong. 

Manufacturing Tolerances

Just like having the right production methods and choosing the correct materials can help you save money, so will having the right tolerances. 

A tolerance is a standard that determines whether a part is good or bad. For example if the tolerance of a part is ± .005 that means that the part can’t be more than .005 larger or smaller than the dimension to be considered acceptable. Tighter or stricter tolerances are difficult to hold which means that the cost to make the parts will increase

However if the tolerances are too loose then the parts won’t work properly; they might not fit together right or it could lead to a thickness being too large or small. There should be a balance between part function and the cost to make the part when choosing tolerances.

Designing Products to be Manufactured Effectively

The goal of design for manufacturing(DFM) is to improve the cost effectiveness and manufacturability of your product’s design. Our experienced engineers will make sure your design is optimized so you get the most out of your product.